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Daily Telegraph – When will a Covid-19 vaccine be ready in the UK? Latest updates from around the world

ByAnnelies Gartner ; Lizzie Roberts and Christopher Hope, 

Volunteers could soon be deliberately infected with coronavirus in trials to speed up a vaccine and discover if people are protected if they have already had the disease.

In a groundbreaking trial, scheduled to begin in January at the Royal Free Hospital in London, patients will be inoculated with a vaccine developed by Imperial College, and then exposed to coronavirus.

“Challenge trials” are controversial, but can give a quick answer about whether a vaccine is effective and several Nobel laureates have called for them to take place.

Oxford University is also intending to use a similar “challenge trial” to test whether people have protective immunity from the disease if they have been previously infected.

Both groups of researchers are currently hunting for a “salvage therapy” that would be given as a last resort if the vaccine did not work before they can begin the trials and will need approval. The trials will be funded by the Government.


What’s the latest news in the hunt for a vaccine?

The Imperial trial is being run by hVIVO, a spin-off company from Queen Mary University of London. Already roughly 2,000 people have signed up to take part in challenge studies in Britain through the group 1Day Sooner. 

Those testing the vaccine will be given the jab and will then wait a month for antibodies to build. The volunteers will then be exposed to the virus…

Link here to view the full Telegraph article

Sunday Telegraph – Vaccine hunters: meet the scientists racing to find a cure

As the WHO warns of a shortfall in funding for vaccines, infection experts speak of their fight to stop the spread

by Joe Shute

In a laboratory in the depths of Imperial College London, all eyes are on a group of mice scurrying about their daily business. The rodents were injected a few weeks ago with a prototype vaccine which it is hoped will achieve what the world has so far singularly failed to do – stop the coronavirus Covid-19.

Progress, says Professor Robin Shattock of Imperial’s department of infectious disease, looks good. His team first started developing the vaccine in mid-January and are working at record pace, taking just 14 days to get from the genetic sequencing of the virus to generating the trial vaccine in the laboratory. It relies upon a cutting-edge technique which injects new genetic code into the muscle, instructing it to make a protein found on the surface of coronavirus triggering a protective immune response. Should the mice trial prove a success then Prof Shattock hopes to be experimenting on humans in the summer and have a vaccine ready next year – perhaps even the first in the world….

Link here for the full article

Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) strengthens its board – Daily Telegraph

From Daily Telegraph – StockMarket Wire

Advanced Oncotherapy has appointed Dr Nick Plowman as a non-executive director with immediate effect.

Plowman is senior clinical oncologist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street in London.

Executive chairman Michael Sinclair said: “Dr Plowman has been a welcome source of expert clinical knowledge through his input to our advisory board and we look forward to extending his contribution to the company in this new role.

“Few people in the UK can boast a higher level of expertise in radiation oncology or enthusiasm for supporting and pioneering new radiation technology than Nick and we are delighted to bring these to bear through his position on our board.”


Testing underway for UK proton beam cancer treatment – Daily Telegraph

By Tara Cunningham
28 MARCH 2016 • 7:03PM
Aim-listed Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) has begun testing its groundbreaking Light machine for the UK’s first proton beam therapy centre, in what is expected to be a cancer treatment milestone when it opens by the end of next year.

Proton beam therapy uses protons to pinpoint tumours more precisely, limiting collateral damage of radiation to other vital organs and offering patients higher disease-free survival rates.

In its latest update, the group said modules of the Light system had been constructed in Bayeux, France and were ready for initial testing and tuning. Once these tests have been carried out, the module, known as a “proton source” will be shipped to Geneva.

Meanwhile, modules which accelerates the protons to the speeds needed to effectively treat tumours are also ready for “high power testing”, Advanced Oncotherapy said.

The company is now on track to treat patients in its Harley Street site in London by the end of next year.

Chief executive Michael Sinclair said: “I am delighted that we remain on track and delivering to the timeline that we originally presented to shareholders in November 2014.”

Mr Sinclair hailed the LIGHT system as “a game changing type of proton therapy that will allow this specialist treatment to be available for cancer patients in a much more effective and affordable way.”

Two years ago, the treatment gained widespread attention after the parents of a five-year-old cancer sufferer, Ashya King, were put in prison after taking their son out of an NHS hospital and travelling to Europe to avail of proton therapy elsewhere.

Link here to read full article

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